• Angers vs PSG

    28 Sep 2020, 16:24 CEST

    There is a 12.6% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw PSG, at 83.3%, are heavy favorites to beat Angers who have a 4.2% chance. In simulation wins, Angers upsets PSG by averaging 8.2 shots and 3.2 shots on goal. They average 1.7 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.3 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is PSG 2.6 to Angers 0.5.

  • Benbatl to ‘improve a lot’ from Joel Stakes return

    Champions Day options will depend on ground.

    28 Sep 2020, 16:22 CEST

    Saeed bin Suroor believes Benbatl just lacked a little in the race-fitness department when he was beaten at Newmarket in the Joel Stakes. Winner of the race last year after a lengthy absence, this time he returned to action for his first start since going close in the inaugural Saudi Cup more than 200 days previously. With Frankie Dettori in the plate for the first time last week, the six-year-old adopted front-running tactics. But he eventually had to settle for third after failing to fend off the younger Kameko, who was returning to winning ways for the first time since his 2000 Guineas success. "He's good after the race – which is the main thing," said Bin Suroor. "Talking to Frankie after the race, he just said he needed it and that he would improve a lot for it. "He's entered in both races at Ascot on Champions Day, the QEII and the Champion Stakes, and we'll make a decision closer to the day. "But we know, come that time of year, that the ground will probably be soft." Such conditions are far from ideal for Benbatl. Bin Suroor added: "We took a chance last year and ran him on it – but he was last, so we won't do that. "We'll keep him entered – and if the ground is good we will run him." Although Benbatl is a seasoned traveller, Bin Suroor is not contemplating taking his stable star to the Breeders' Cup. He said: "We're not thinking of the Breeders' Cup at this moment. "The races for him are in Saudi Arabia and Dubai – they're the ones for him. "He ran well, (so) we were pleased."

  • Cádiz vs Athletic Club

    28 Sep 2020, 16:19 CEST

    There is a 19.4% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Athletic Club, at 73.3%, are heavy favorites to beat Cádiz who have a 7.3% chance. In simulation wins, Cádiz upsets Athletic Club by averaging 7.5 shots and 3.2 shots on goal. They average 1.7 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.3 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Athletic Club 2.1 to Cádiz 0.5.

  • Stoke’s Badou Ndiaye heads back to Turkey

    The midfielder has joined Fatih Karagumruk on a season-long loan.

    28 Sep 2020, 16:19 CEST

    Stoke midfielder Badou Ndiaye has joined Turkish club Fatih Karagumruk on a season-long loan. It is the third time the 29-year-old has headed out on loan from Stoke since they signed him for GBP 14million from Galatasaray in the summer of 2018. Stoke confirmed Ndiaye's departure in a very brief statement on their official website. The Senegal international has failed to settle at the Britannia Stadium and has not appeared for Michael O'Neill's side this season. He spent the 2018/19 campaign on loan back at Galatasaray and the second half of last season at Turkish rivals Trabzonspor. Ndiaye turned down interest from Newcastle to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract with the Potters two years ago, but has scored two goals in just 27 appearances for the club.

  • Quarantine exemption still possible for British jockeys at ParisLongchamp

    BHA set to make submission to Public Health England.

    28 Sep 2020, 16:03 CEST

    British-based jockeys riding at ParisLongchamp this weekend may yet be exempt from self-isolation on their return – with the British Horseracing Authority set to make a submission to Public Health England on Tuesday. As things stand, those who ride in France this weekend would need to self-isolate for seven days under the elite sportsperson's exemption, rather than the standard 14 days. Earlier in the season, Frankie Dettori was forced to choose between riding Palace Pier and Mishriff at Deauville, then completing a spell in isolation, or being available for York's Ebor meeting – and he chose France. With the likes of Dettori, Ryan Moore, Andrea Atzeni and champion jockey Oisin Murphy keen to be able to ride at Newmarket's Future Champions Day the following weekend, an ease in the restrictions would be most welcome for them. The exemption the BHA is seeking would also include trainers and stable staff. A BHA spokesman said: "Our COVID-19 protocols are kept under constant review. "The existing protocols around elite sportspeople and essential support staff – which includes jockeys, trainers and stable staff – travelling to countries with self-isolation restrictions allow for the period of self-isolation to be reduced to a minimum of seven days upon completion of the necessary testing. "We are currently looking at these protocols with a view to making a submission to Public Health England that they might be adjusted, which may include a full exemption from self-isolation for the purposes of training and competition if a strict testing regime and rigorous travel and separation protocols are adhered to. "We will look to provide further updates in the next 24 hours."

  • Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius joins Bundesliga side Union Berlin on loan

    The 27-year-old will now have spent three consecutive seasons away from Anfield.

    28 Sep 2020, 15:56 CEST

    Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius has joined Bundesliga side Union Berlin on a season-long loan, the Premier League champions have announced. The move means the 27-year-old will now have spent three consecutive seasons away from Anfield after playing on loan at Beskitas for the past two years. Karius has not made a competitive appearance for Liverpool since two mistakes proved costly in the 2018 Champions League final loss to Real Madrid. The German joined Liverpool from Mainz in 2016 and is pleased to be returning to his homeland.


    Karius told the Bundesliga club's website, fc-union-berlin.de: "I'm looking forward to my new opportunity in Berlin and I'm happy to be playing in the Bundesliga again. "Union is a special club, one that has earned a great deal of respect, not just by promotion to the Bundesliga. "I would like to play my part in this positive development and help to achieve the great goal of staying in the Bundesliga."

  • Neil Lennon impressed by Scott Brown in Celtic’s defeat of Hibernian

    The Hoops boss said the 35-year-old was imperious in the comfortable home win.

    28 Sep 2020, 15:53 CEST

    Celtic manager Neil Lennon felt Scott Brown answered his critics in emphatic fashion during Sunday's win over Hibernian. Brown played 82 minutes of Celtic's 3-0 win in what Lennon described as one of the best performances in either of his two spells in charge. And the Celtic boss felt the 35-year-old's performance refuted claims that his captain's physical powers were on the wane. Lennon told Celtic TV: "I thought he was man of the match, I thought he was brilliant. "I know people have been questioning him. Sometimes he takes a little bit to get going, he needs the games. But I thought he was imperious. "People say his legs…his legs haven't gone. We have got all the data and we see him every day. "That will maybe really kick-start his season but he is so important to us, he is the fulcrum of the team on and off the field. His performance was magnificent."


    As well as being delighted with his long-serving captain, Lennon praised the newcomer to his midfield, David Turnbull. After a couple of cameo outings since his GBP 3million move from Motherwell, Turnbull was handed the whole of the second half to further introduce himself to the Celtic support, albeit through their television or computer screens. The 21-year-old did not disappoint, playing a key role in Celtic's third goal. Turnbull started a move with an interception inside his own half, played a one-two and then an inch-perfect through-ball to allow Mohamed Elyounoussi to net first time. Lennon said: "I'm delighted for him. He's been patient, but he has only been in the door for a month. "He is getting used to the way we play, the tempo we play at and obviously the style of football and the formation. "He can be delighted with his contribution. He is a very, very good young player and I am delighted he is here."

  • Coronavirus continues to disrupt schedule as Grimsby-Bradford clash is postponed

    The Lincolnshire club has players and staff still self-isolating.

    28 Sep 2020, 15:30 CEST

    Another EFL match has fallen victim to Covid-19 after the league announced Grimsby's League Two game against Bradford this weekend had been postponed. The Lincolnshire club has players and staff still self-isolating, which forced their match against Cheltenham on Saturday to be called off as well. The EFL said the circumstances surrounding the postponement would be the subject of an investigation, as was the case for the Cheltenham game. Leyton Orient's match against Walsall last weekend was also postponed, with the Os having to forfeit their Carabao Cup tie against Tottenham last Tuesday.


    EFL chairman Rick Parry said over the weekend that the competition was "reviewing" the testing policy adopted for the season. He told the Daily Mail: "We obviously had a major problem at Leyton Orient. I don't think we needed a wake-up call but it has given us one. "We were following the medical guidance and there were so few positive tests last season in the Championship that the advice was you don't need to be testing all the time if you are following the protocols. If you are monitoring symptoms, then testing all the time isn't essential. "We are now reviewing, particularly now that the infection rate is rising. There is no room for any complacency. We will do some increased testing. Maybe it will be random, maybe it will be periodic. "But, again, the real message is everyone has to stick to the protocols and observe them. If you don't then things can go quickly wrong. The infection rates being what they are, you have got to think of the nation and we can't put pressure on the NHS again."


    Stevenage's League Two game at Bradford on Saturday afternoon went ahead despite Covid-related issues affecting that match. The Hertfordshire club discovered two players had tested positive for coronavirus when they tested all players and staff in the wake of an initial positive case being recorded on Thursday. The club's chairman Phil Wallace and Rochdale chief executive David Bottomley both called for weekly testing last week, with the latter saying it was essential for the continuation of the competition.

  • Frank Lampard refuses to say Kepa Arrizabalaga has played his last Chelsea game

    New signing Edouard Mendy is in contention to make his debut in the Carabao Cup tie at Tottenham.

    28 Sep 2020, 15:02 CEST

    Chelsea boss Frank Lampard maintains Kepa Arrizabalaga has not necessarily played his last game for the club – and will continue to protect the goalkeeper when needed. Lampard confirmed new signing Edouard Mendy is in contention to make his debut against Tottenham in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. Kepa found himself back on the bench for the 3-3 Premier League draw at West Brom, where Willy Caballero was in goal as the Blues recovered from 3-0 down at the break to salvage a point through Tammy Abraham's stoppage-time equaliser. Lampard, however, rejected suggestions the 25-year-old Spaniard – signed for a club-record GBP 71million from Athletic Bilbao in August 2018 – was now surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge.


    Asked if Kepa had potentially made his final appearance for the Blues, Lampard said: "I certainly won't go to the point that he has played his last game for Chelsea. "I think it has been a difficult time for Kepa, that has been well documented, I know it and he knows it, but we should certainly not jump to that conclusion. "Also I think, which I have felt quite strongly about in the last week, is also understanding Kepa is a young man and the spotlight on him, I think, has become slightly unfair. "I have to protect him because I know he is a good lad and playing with absolute professionalism and intent to do the best that he can, as all the squad have to."


    German defender Antonio Rudiger has not featured this season, but again Lampard stressed nothing had yet been decided. "I wouldn't assume anything and I wouldn't assume (anything about) Antonio or any players in the squad," the Chelsea manager said. "We are not there until next Monday when the window shuts, so other than that, I would make no assumptions." Mendy was not available for the West Brom game, but Lampard has been impressed by the efforts of the Senegal international, 28, since arriving in west London. "It is all very positive from the early signs and interactions, just as a man on the training pitch," Lampard added. "He has settled very well in the first few days and we have made him feel welcome as always. It is competition. "He is a good goalkeeper and we know a lot about him, so we will see how we go."


    Jose Mourinho is set to utilise his Tottenham squad as they prepare for a run of three games in five days. Lampard, though, feels whatever team both sides put out will still present a stern challenge. "I know it is a busy time for Tottenham because of the Europa League, it is a busy time for us all," said Lampard. "When I analyse Tottenham and know the squad they have, and analyse what might be a team which didn't play 90 minutes (against Newcastle) yesterday, they have a fantastic squad. "I feel any squad Jose puts out can be very strong. "We all know for teams like ourselves and Tottenham that are challenging for top four and Champions League, then the Carabao Cup does have its place. "But we will certainly respect it and every tournament we go in we will try and win." Victor Moses, meanwhile, is back with Chelsea following his loan spell at Inter Milan, but as yet is not training within the first-team squad bubble.

  • The key issues as handball decisions come under scrutiny

    Several penalty awards have caused controversy in the Premier League this season.

    28 Sep 2020, 14:40 CEST

    A chorus of derision has rained down on football's rule-makers in the wake of a series of penalties awarded for handballs in Premier League matches over the weekend. The decisions have raised questions over the interpretation of the rules, set by the International Football Advisory Board, with managers and former players leading the calls for clarity. Here, the PA news agency looks at the issue and what needs to be done to avoid further controversy in the future.


    What happened at the weekend?


    Penalties were awarded at Brighton, Crystal Palace and Tottenham, all of which were given after the referees were recommended to consult VAR, and all of which caused the respective home sides to drop points. Arguably the most controversial of the incidents was at Tottenham were Eric Dier was adjudged to have handled an Andy Carroll header despite having been facing the other way at the time of the alleged infringement.


    What did they say?


    Spurs boss Jose Mourinho declined to comment on the incident, but his Newcastle counterpart Steve Bruce described the decision as "nonsense", despite his side having directly benefited. Palace boss Roy Hodgson used the same word to describe the decision at Selhurst Park, where Lucas Digne's downward header struck Joel Ward on the arm. Gary Lineker took to Twitter to describe the decisions as "utterly ludicrous" and Jamie Carragher claimed the rule was "ruining football", while former World Cup referee George Courtney described the penalty awards as "an embarrassment".


    What's changed?


    The Premier League appears to have decided to follow a stricter interpretation of the original law, laid down by IFAB prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, which stated that handball would be awarded "if the ball hits the hand of a player who has made their body unnaturally bigger", as well as any that strikes any part of the arm below the armpit. Whereas the focus was previously on the latter element, this season has seen a harsher interpretation of what constitutes "unnatural". The problem almost boils down to semantics: was Eric Dier's body shape unnatural because he was jumping, or what is natural for one who was jumping?


    Why was Chelsea's goal allowed to stand?


    Tammy Abraham's late equaliser for Chelsea at West Brom on Saturday appears to contradict the other examples, in that a clear handball in the build-up by Kai Havertz went unpunished, despite recourse for VAR. However the rules differ for attacking teams, in that contact is only automatically penalised in the immediate build-up to the goal – with officials deeming that Havertz's handling came early enough not to constitute an infringement.


    Why the rule change?


    The Premier League may have felt under pressure to catch up with the continent, with statistics illustrating its relative lenience last season. Twenty penalties were awarded for handball in the Premier League in the first season under the new rule, compared to 57 in Serie A and 48 in LaLiga. What makes the current situation so unusual is the Premier League's history of handing the player accused of handball the benefit of the doubt: there were 14 penalties awarded for the infraction in 2018-19, and just six across the previous campaign.


    What happens next?


    Clearly the onus is on IFAB to clarify a rule which, ironically, was introduced in order to achieve consistency when it came to handball decisions. For that to happen, it would take either FIFA or a member association to recommend further guidance. Even then, there is no guarantee that the rule would be applied in the same way across the game, given the subjective interpretations firstly of each association, and ultimately of the referees and VAR operators themselves. Stand by for more controversy ahead.

  • Powerful Breeze team planning 2021 campaign

    Filly bypasses Sun Chariot return and unlikely to run this year.

    28 Sep 2020, 14:08 CEST

    Last year's Fillies' Mile runner-up Powerful Breeze is unlikely to return this season. The 2019 May Hill winner was the victim of a freak accident earlier in the year which saw her break ribs, but trainer Hugo Palmer had hoped to get her back in time for this weekend's Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes. However, Palmer has admitted defeat and took her out of the race at Monday's confirmation stage, but he has been told he can look forward to training her as a four-year-old next season. "Unfortunately we've just run out of time with her," said Palmer. "It was too big an ask to get her ready in that short space of time and we were just going to have to push too hard, which wouldn't have been fair on her. "Dr Ali (owner) is very keen to keep her in training next year, so there was no point rushing when we've got time on our side." When asked if Powerful Breeze would make it to the track this season, Palmer replied: "There isn't really a suitable option for her. "We'll see, but there's such a nice programme for her as a four-year-old, races like the Falmouth, Duke of Cambridge, Matron – all those races. There's plenty of opportunities next year. "It was just the injury she had and the fact she'd had so long off the track, it just wasn't going to come together quick enough. "The rest of the string is in good order, thank goodness. We had a difficult start to the year but they are finishing very well, which is a huge relief."

  • Jose Mourinho could make wholesale changes for Tottenham’s clash with Chelsea

    Spurs boss Mourinho has suggested the competition is not a priority.

    28 Sep 2020, 13:48 CEST

    Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has hinted he will make wholesale changes for Tuesday's Carabao Cup fourth-round tie at home to Chelsea. The clash with his former club is the first of three games in five days for Spurs and Mourinho has suggested the competition is not a priority. Son Heung-min (hamstring) and Gareth Bale (knee) are absent and it remains to be seen if Dele Alli is drafted in after missing out on the matchday squad in Sunday's draw with Newcastle, while Sergio Reguilon could make his debut after moving from Real Madrid.


    Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has confirmed goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is in contention to make his debut after signing from Rennes. Full-back Ben Chilwell is also set to be in the squad as the 23-year-old manages his return from a heel problem. Christian Pulisic (hamstring) and Hakim Ziyech (knee) continue their rehabilitation.


    Provisional Tottenham squad: Lloris, Hart, Carter-Vickers, Doherty, Aurier, Alderweireld, Dier, Sanchez, Davies, Reguilon, Sessegnon, Winks, Sissoko, Hojbjerg, Fernandes, Lo Celso, Ndombele, Alli, Lamela, Bergwijn, Moura, Kane.


    Provisional Chelsea squad: Mendy, Silva, Chilwell, Azpilicueta, Emerson, Barkley, Kovacic, Mount, Havertz, Abraham, Hudson-Odoi, Caballero, Tomori, Zouma, James, Jorginho, Werner, Giroud, Abraham.

  • Trevor Sinclair: Lack of diversity deterring BAME players from coaching roles

    The former England forward says he felt becoming a coach was not a path he could take because of the lack of black coaches in his career.

    28 Sep 2020, 13:24 CEST

    Former QPR and West Ham star Trevor Sinclair says a lack of diversity among top-flight coaching staff is preventing black and Asian players from extending their careers into the dugout. The 47-year-old says he personally ruled out pursuing a coaching career because he perceived that the lack of diversity within that element of the game would prohibit his chances of success. And Sinclair, who also played for Manchester City in the top flight and won 12 caps for England before retiring from the professional game in 2008, says it will take more than "token gestures" to change the landscape for future generations of players.


    Sinclair told the PA news agency: "Coaching was not even a consideration for me because of the lack of black coaches that I'd worked with throughout my 21-year career. "I thought I could potentially be a very good coach but I just didn't see it as an option, I never actually thought it was a career path or a transition that I could make. "You look at the football authorities and there are a few token gestures but the numbers of black or Asian coaches do not mirror the numbers on the pitch. "If you are experiencing racism, it is much more encouraging for a young black player if they have got someone on the senior staff who has been through a similar thing."


    The so-called 'Rooney Rule', which requires clubs to interview at least one BAME candidate when hiring a manager, was adopted by the Football Association and the Football League last year, but is yet to be employed by the Premier League. Sinclair is currently working as a presenter on talkSPORT, which has launched a new diversity scheme aimed at recruiting three new apprentices in broadcast journalism. And Sinclair believes the issues in football are mirrored to an extent within sports journalism, with the need for a more diverse range of views and opinions. He added: "Naturally whatever industry you're in, if you've got a more diverse work-force you're going to have better debate and cover more subjects in depth because you are coming from different perspectives."

  • Matron victor Champers Elysees added to Sun Chariot field

    French raider Half Light also supplemented for Newmarket Group One.

    28 Sep 2020, 13:08 CEST

    Johnny Murtagh's Champers Elysees and the Henri-Alex Pantall-trained Half Light have been supplemented for Saturday's Kingdom Of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket. Murtagh's filly provided the former Irish champion jockey with his first Group One win on Irish Champions Weekend when a ready winner of the Matron Stakes and she will maintain her partnership with Colin Keane. Following her breakthrough top-level win, Champers Elysees has been bought by Teruya Yoshida, a major player in the Japanese bloodstock industry who saw his colours carried to victory in this race by Sahpresa in 2011. "We've been happy with her since the Matron and this looks the next logical step," said Murtagh. "We supplemented this morning. It's going to be tough race – it's a Group One they are always hard to win – but we've been happy with our filly since the Matron. "Colin Keane is going to ride her again and we're looking forward to it. "For Mr Yoshida to be involved in the yard is a big thing. He runs a huge operation and only buys the best. For her to be good enough for him is great, and it's also great he's going to leave her in training with us next year. "The stable is going from strength to strength and we need those high-profile owners in our yard to elevate us to the next level." Half Light, owned by Godolphin, was beaten narrowly by Mark Johnston's Dark Vision in a Group Two in Germany last time out. Last year's winner Billesdon Brook is also one of 17 fillies left in the contest. She is one of two for Richard Hannon, who could also run Cloak Of Spirits, who got back to winning ways last week having earlier in the season finished placed in the 1000 Guineas. John Gosden has left in Terebellum and Nazeef, while Sir Michael Stoute's Veracious is set for her third appearance in the race. Roger Varian's Daahyeh, last seen finishing second at the Breeders' Cup, is another notable entry, but Hugo Palmer took out Powerful Breeze, another filly who has not run this season. Jessica Harrington could run Albigna while Aidan O'Brien's Peaceful, winner of the Irish 1,000 Guineas, is sure to be among the favourites although she has a length and a quarter to find with Champers Elysees from the Matron.

  • Jose Mourinho says fixture pile-up prevents Tottenham fighting for Carabao Cup

    Spurs face Chelsea cuptie on Tuesday and a Europa League qualifier on Thursday ahead of a weekend trip to Man Utd in the Premier League.

    28 Sep 2020, 13:00 CEST

    Jose Mourinho has blamed the EFL for not giving Tottenham a chance of fighting for Carabao Cup success and believes his squad will be hit by injury as they face three games in five days. Spurs host Mourinho's former club Chelsea in the Carabao Cup fourth round on Tuesday before a final Europa League qualifying tie at home to Maccabi Haifa just 48 hours later. The hectic week is topped off by a trip to Mourinho's last club, Manchester United, for a Premier League clash on Sunday.


    The three games come on the back of a draw at home to Newcastle on Sunday in which Spurs conceded a contentious injury-time penalty – with Mourinho refusing to criticise the new handball law or the use of VAR after the game. But he did hit out at being forced to play their Carabao Cup fourth round tie in between league and European commitments and suggested the added financial value of reaching the Europa League group stages has to take precedent. "I would like to fight for the Carabao (Cup) but I don't think I can," he said. "We have a game on Thursday that gives us not as much money as the Champions League but the group phase of the Europa League gives us a certain amount that, for a club like us, is very important. "It's a competition with a possible group phase that gives us a good chance to go through to the next knockout stage so this game on Thursday is very important for us. "I think you can imagine that with a game on Thursday that decides a very important thing for us, I think the EFL made a decision for us. "They didn't even create a problem – they made a decision for us. So that's the decision."


    Spurs lost Son Heung-min to a hamstring injury at half-time against Newcastle. The South Korea forward had already hit the woodwork twice having scored four goals in the previous Premier League outing at Southampton. But Mourinho believes Son's setback will be the first in a list on injury problems his side will have to overcome due to their fixture congestion. Asked if playing a Chelsea side who had to fight from three goals down to draw at West Brom on Saturday gave Tottenham a good chance of progressing in the Carabao Cup, the Portuguese replied: "You're joking or you're serious? "Chelsea played Saturday, they have Sunday and Monday (off) then they play Tuesday and then they play again on the weekend. "So their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants. "As you know and forgetting the past Thursday, we played on the Sunday, now we play on the Tuesday, we play on the Thursday, we play on the Sunday again. "And I think Sonny was just the first. More (injuries) will come. Son was the first, but more will come."


    Tottenham already avoided the same fixture pattern last week after their third round Carabao Cup game at Leyton Orient was called off following a number of positive Covid-19 tests among the ranks of the Sky Bet League Two club. Despite being given a bye into the next round, and receiving more rest for his players as a result, Mourinho said that Orient should feel aggrieved by the decision to award the tie to Spurs. "I think they have to be very, very upset," he added. "I think they have to. I have total sympathy for them. I don't think they did anything wrong. They were tested. I think they deserve to play against us, no doubts about it."

  • Is home advantage a thing of the past without crowds?

    Data suggests away teams are making hay in empty stadiums.

    28 Sep 2020, 12:50 CEST

    With only one home win in the Premier League so far this weekend, is home advantage suffering due to the lack of spectators?


    Saturday's four games brought three away wins and a stirring comeback from Chelsea to draw at West Brom, having trailed 3-0 at half-time. Newcastle were handed a late equaliser at Tottenham on Sunday and Leeds and Leicester both won away – the Foxes stunning Manchester City 5-2 – before West Ham finally struck a blow for the home teams as Jarrod Bowen inspired a 4-0 rout of Wolves. Here, the PA news agency takes a look at how this season's results compare to the historical figures in the Premier League.


    Is home advantage dead?


    This weekend's away-dominated results are not unique this season, with the opening round of fixtures producing just two home wins from eight games. There were five in 10 games in week two but overall, eight home wins out of 26 equates to just a 30.8 per cent win rate for home teams. That is a long way down on the average of 46.2 per cent in the Premier League era as a whole and, with the Government delaying plans to reintroduce spectators into stadia, it is only natural to wonder about the effect on home advantage this season.


    However, the games played in June and July after last season resumed showed no such pattern – 43 out of 92 were won by the home team, or 46.7 per cent. There were still more away wins than is typical – 29, or 31.5 per cent compared to 27.7 per cent historically – as the proportion of draws fell from 26.1 per cent to 21.7 per cent. The latter pattern has certainly continued this season, with no draws at all through two weeks before this weekend's late drama at West Brom and Tottenham.


    Early fixture list plays a part


    Away teams have won 61.5 per cent of Premier League games this season – but looking at the fixtures so far, it seems more likely to be a short-term blip than the start of a trend. Leicester and Everton have started the season in flying form with three straight wins apiece and are the only teams with more than one win away from home. Each have claimed a notable scalp along the way, with Everton beating Tottenham and Crystal Palace while the Foxes have won at West Brom and Manchester City. Each of the traditional 'big six' have contributed to the away win total. Liverpool beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge but, with the possible exception of City's win at Wolves, the other results in that group were largely predictable.



    And of the remaining six away wins, only Palace's win at Manchester United would be viewed as a significant shock. Leeds and Wolves both won at Sheffield United, while Brighton beat Newcastle, the Magpies themselves won at West Ham and Southampton saw off Burnley. Newcastle's last-gasp draw at Spurs took another home win off the board but West Brom would not have been expected to beat Chelsea – indeed, despite having let a 3-0 lead slip away, forward Callum Robinson admitted: "Before the game if you get a point against a Chelsea team like this then you probably would've taken it."

  • A closer look at Ruben Dias as Manchester City prepare to sign the defender

    Dias is a product of Benfica’s academy at Seixal and will be following a route taken in recent years by Bernardo Silva and Ederson by moving to City.

    28 Sep 2020, 12:38 CEST

    Manchester City look set to bolster their defence with the signing of Portugal centre-back Ruben Dias from Benfica. Here, the PA news agency takes a look at the 23-year-old and how he will fit into the City side.


    Profile


    Dias is a product of Benfica's academy at Seixal and will be following a route taken in recent years by Bernardo Silva and Ederson by moving to City. He has been hugely influential for the Lisbon club since breaking into their first team and played a key role in the Portuguese title success of 2018-19. He captained the team and scored in what looks like being his final appearance against Moreirense on Saturday. He has 19 caps for Portugal and helped them win the Nations League last year.


    Playing style


    Dias appears to fit the mould wanted by City manager Pep Guardiola. He is regarded as a complete and modern centre-back, who is both strong in defence and comfortable on the ball. This would make him ideal for City, whose desire to play out from the back is a central plank of their identity under Guardiola. At 6ft 1in, he has height on his side and his leadership qualities add to his appeal.


    Why City need him


    Signing Dias will end City's long search for central defensive reinforcements. The matter has been pressing since former captain Vincent Kompany left the club at the end of the 2018-19 title-winning season. Due to injuries and inconsistent form, John Stones has not developed into the player City hoped and Nicolas Otamendi has not been fully trusted for some time. A bad injury to Aymeric Laporte last season highlighted City's shortcomings in the position, with midfielder Fernandinho operating as a makeshift defender for most of the campaign. There were high hopes for 19-year-old Eric Garcia but he has expressed a desire to leave. Nathan Ake was brought in for GBP 40million earlier in the summer but it was felt another option was still needed.


    Why City turned to Dias


    Virgil Van Dijk and Harry Maguire were both considered prime targets in recent years but City refused to match the asking prices of Southampton and Leicester respectively, and consequently saw those players move to Liverpool and Manchester United. Kalidou Koulibaly emerged as the new first choice over the summer but, again, Napoli's valuation – said to be over GBP 70million – proved prohibitive. Further options emerged with Sevilla's Jules Kounde reportedly considered before focus switched to Dias.


    What is the deal costing?


    Benfica have announced that a deal worth an initial GBP 62million has been agreed with City, with a potential further GBP 3.2million to follow in possible add-ons. Benfica's willingness to take Otamendi from City as a replacement also seems to have smoothed the deal. The Portuguese club will pay GBP 13.6million for the 32-year-old Argentinian, who has been at City for the past five years. The moves will go through once personal terms are finalised.

  • Former referee George Courtney sorry for officials over penalty ’embarrassment’

    There were several controversial handball decisions given in the Premier League last weekend.

    28 Sep 2020, 12:23 CEST

    Former top-flight referee George Courtney has expressed his sympathy with the current crop of Premier League match officials and labelled the recent string of penalties awarded for handball as an "embarrassment" for the game. Spot-kicks were given at Brighton, Crystal Palace and Tottenham over the weekend to put the microscope back on the laws and how they are interpreted.


    The three home clubs dropped points after penalties were given against them in controversial fashion, with the referees involved using the pitchside monitor after being recommended to do so by video assistant referee. Now 79, Courtney retired from the professional game in 1992, but still officiates matches for the University of Durham, while he is an avid watcher of the Premier League and has been left perplexed following a weekend full of controversy. "I feel very sorry for the referees because for me they have lost totally their independence," Courtney, who refereed the 1980 FA Cup final, told the PA news agency. "When I refereed, I was independent, obviously adhering to the laws of the game and applying them in a very sensible and common sense way, but that has gone out of the window now completely. "IFAB (International Football Association Board) have got to do some instant thinking and I have no doubt they will be in touch with FIFA to try and remedy what is becoming an embarrassment in the game."


    During his career, Courtney worked at two World Cups, one European Championship, was frequently involved in UEFA competitions and took charge of the 1989 Cup Winners' Cup final. The Durham resident admitted to squirming in his chair after Peter Bankes pointed to the spot at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday. Eric Dier was adjudged to have put his arm in an unnatural position when Newcastle forward Andy Carroll headed the ball against the unwitting England international's upraised arm, helping the Magpies net a penalty equaliser deep into stoppage time. Courtney added: "I literally squirmed in my settee yesterday watching the situation with Dier, it was awful. "I felt a bit sorry for the referee, but he has to stick to the current interpretations and if he doesn't, I presume he will get bombed out. "Where are our senior people in the game? Where is Mike Riley (general manager of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited) for example. Is he making any comment or keeping his head under the parapet?"


    Spurs boss Jose Mourinho showed his frustration on the touchline at the decision while Palace manager Roy Hodgson was vocal against the interpretation of the rule after Joel Ward conceded a penalty against Everton on Saturday. Hodgson said: "Every week games are being decided on so-called penalty decisions for handball which are definitely not handball." A Lucas Digne header hit Ward on the hand from close range and Kevin Friend deemed his arm was in an unnatural position. "I am still a keen student of the game and I am becoming more and more disillusioned," Courtney said. "I am on Roy Hodgson's side, who made some telling and caustic comments after the game on Saturday. "It is a real concern of mine that we are losing the real spirit of the game through too much meddling in the interpretations of various aspects of the game."


    The PA news agency understands FIFA see this as a 'domestic' issue of how the law is being interpreted, rather than a problem with the law itself. At the start of the 2019-20 campaign, a change by IFAB resulted in a handball being awarded "if the ball hits the hand of a player who has made their body unnaturally bigger."


    Last season there were 57 handball penalty awards in Serie A and 48 in LaLiga and the Premier League now appear to be following suit despite room for interpretation with the rule. "When I came through as a referee there was 17 laws of the game and my then instructor said there are 18 – the 18th is common sense and I have never forgotten that," Courtney said. "There is far too much meddling and people are becoming absolutely fed up. "I have been wrapped up in the game since I was in the cradle. It was a simple game, it was enjoyed and I don't think referees enjoy their jobs anymore."

  • Nando Parrado all set for Lagardere

    Cox confirms plan after wet forecast in Paris.

    28 Sep 2020, 11:29 CEST

    Clive Cox will aim to continue an excellent season with his juveniles when Nando Parrado runs in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at ParisLongchamp. Cox had been considering a run in the Dewhurst with the shock Coventry Stakes winner, but the prospect of soft ground in Paris on Sunday has helped to make the decision for him. As well as the Coventry Stakes, Cox has won the Middle Park and Richmond with Supremacy this season and the Rockfel with Isabella Giles. "With the (wet) forecast, he's actually going to travel to France on Sunday for the Lagardere," Cox told Sky Sports Racing. "He did a really good job winning the Coventry, and at that stage we were intent on looking further with him, and he then finished second in the Morny. "The prospect of easy ground has lured us that way – and I'm very much looking forward to it, because he's in excellent form." Cox was encouraged by Nando Parrado's performance at Deauville last month. "He was drawn next to a filly (Campanelle, the winner) in the Morny and was in the stalls a long time," he added. "Christophe Soumillon rode him and wanted to keep on the rail – quite rightly, he's a world-class jockey and knew where he wanted to go – (and) it was a very pleasing run. "The extra furlong will be really interesting, and I'm convinced it will be well up his street. We think and awful lot of him. He's got a lot of class. "We've got an amazing group of two-year-olds, one to dream about. I was very concerned at the beginning of the season when we weren't sure when we'd resume – so I'm so pleased it's all worked out."

  • Preston appeal against Tom Barkhuizen’s red card in Saturday’s defeat to Stoke

    Barkhuizen was shown a straight red card by the referee at Deepdale following his first-half challenge on Stoke defender Morgan Fox.

    28 Sep 2020, 11:22 CEST

    Preston have appealed against Tom Barkhuizen's dismissal in Saturday's home defeat to Stoke. Barkhuizen was shown a straight red card by the referee at Deepdale following his first-half challenge on Stoke defender Morgan Fox. Preston announced on Twitter: "Preston can confirm that the club have appealed Tom Barkhuizen's red card from Saturday. We will provide a further update as soon as we have one." Barkhuizen, playing at wing-back on Saturday, appeared to slip as he went in for his 50-50 challenge with Fox and Stoke went on to take all three points thanks to Lee Gregory's 39th-minute goal. Preston boss Alex Neil said after the match that Barkhuizen had been "extremely unfortunate". "He's running towards the ball to try and get there, he tries to slow down realising he's probably not going to make it and then starts to lose his footing and sort of slides into the tackle," Neil told the club's official website. "I certainly don't think there was any signal of intent there." Preston have failed to win any of their first three Sky Bet Championship games and sit 19th in the table.

  • Cheikhou Kouyate praises team-mates for helping him adjust to defensive role

    The Eagles have been without Gary Cahill and James Tomkins for a lengthy period of time.

    28 Sep 2020, 11:00 CEST

    Crystal Palace's makeshift centre-back Cheikhou Kouyate has heaped praise on the defenders at the club for helping him adjust to his new role. The Senegal international has traditionally lined up for the Eagles in midfield, but injury issues at the back end of last season and the start of this campaign have seen him needed in the back four. Kouyate has coped admirably and played a key part in the south London club winning two of their opening three games in the Premier League. Such has been the 30-year-old's form, he has leapfrogged right-back Martin Kelly as a deputy at centre-back and shone alongside Scott Dann and then Mamadou Sakho in victories over Southampton and Manchester United. "Yes I know the role. I played some games there with the national team and with West Ham," Kouyate said. "It is not easy and it's a long time that I didn't play this role. In the beginning I am working every day with the staff and they help me. "The players, Dannsy, Mamadou, Kelly – it is so, so easy to me to have so many experienced players with me because they taught me so much. It is helping me very much."


    Kouyate marked his excellent start to the new season with a goal in Saturday's 2-1 loss at home to Everton. It was only his second for the club since he joined from West Ham in August 2018, but a controversial penalty decision saw the Toffees take the points at Selhurst Park. Joel Ward's hand was adjudged to be in an unnatural position when Lucas Digne's header hit him inside the area from close range and after using the pitchside monitor, referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot. "If you score and don't win, it's nothing to me. We need to continue to work hard, we have a very good squad and maybe we are going to try to do something this year," Kouyate added. "For me it is not a penalty. This is the VAR sometimes, they come in to kill the game. We can do nothing. "It is very, very hard to take it because after the penalty everything changes. We tried to push and it comes to nothing."


    Richarlison's spot-kick, coupled with Dominic Calvert-Lewin's opener, saw Everton make it five wins from five in all competitions this season. Many have tipped Carlo Ancelotti's side to fight for Europe, but Palace pushed them all the way in SE25 even if they failed to test Jordan Pickford enough. Saturday's fixture was a memorable one for Palace's summer signing Ebere Eze too, after he made his first start in the Premier League. It was another encouraging and confident display by the ex-QPR playmaker, who continues to make an impression in the infancy of his career at Selhurst Park. Kouyate added: "This kid is so special. He has a very good character, good with the ball and good vision. "We are happy to have this boy with us because he is a very good player. On Saturday, he played very good. We are so happy to have him."

  • Jarrod Bowen hoping West Ham can build on ‘perfect performance’ against Wolves

    28 Sep 2020, 11:00 CEST

    Jarrod Bowen feels West Ham have finally got their season up and running after putting on the "perfect performance" against Wolves. The winger scored twice as the Hammers thumped Wolves 4-0 on Sunday evening to get their first points on the board. Defeats by Newcastle and Arsenal had left the club lurching towards familiar crisis territory, but Bowen feels they are now showing what they are capable of. "I think without the ball we were good, with the ball we were good and that was the perfect performance – something we can build on," he said. "You look at the players in the changing room and there is no reason we can't be pushing the top half of the table. "With consistent performances like last night there is no reason we can't be up and amongst the top half. "I think in every game there has been a reaction. The first game wasn't good enough. "We reacted against Arsenal and were disappointed we didn't get a point out of that game, and then we certainly reacted again last night which is good for us going into the fixtures we've got coming up."


    Bowen's brace, either side of half-time, was added to by Tomas Soucek's header – deflected in by Raul Jimenez – and substitute Sebastien Haller. The win, on the back of a 5-1 Carabao Cup thrashing of Hull, might encourage manager David Moyes to continue working from home for a bit longer. Moyes is still self-isolating after a positive Covid-19 test but was remotely in charge against Wolves, with assistant Alan Irvine taking over on the touchline. "Since the Hull game he hasn't been in, I haven't spoken to him personally but I know Alan and all the coaches have spoken to him," added Bowen. "It has been a bit of a strange and different week. We've coped with it well and you saw last night that we didn't let if affect us." It was a strangely subdued display from Wolves, who had beaten West Ham in all four of their previous meetings since promotion without conceding a goal. "It's part of the job, we have to go and work harder to find a solution. The players must bounce back and react to it," said boss Nuno Espirito Santo. "It's about improving what we want to do. Now, we have to look at the game and the solution is inside. It's about improving the players."

  • ‘Tiny details’ the difference against Leicester, insists Man City’s Rodri

    The midfielder felt Pep Guardiola’s side were unlucky.

    28 Sep 2020, 10:59 CEST

    Rodri insists Manchester City will learn and improve after Sunday's chastening defeat to Leicester. City surrendered a lead to crash 5-2 at the hands of the Jamie Vardy-inspired Foxes, who powered to the top of the Premier League with three wins from three as a result. Spanish midfielder Rodri claims the loss came down to small details and bad luck, while he was unimpressed with Leicester's gameplan. The 24-year-old said: "I think we did a good performance for the first 25-30 minutes, but it is a difficult game to read what happened. "We conceded, we made mistakes – but they didn't propose anything. They just defended, came here (to put) 11 players behind. "We prepared for the game so hard. We do everything to win. For very small and tiny details we lost and we (could have) drawn the game. "I think this match can happen just one of 100 (times), but it's happened. We have not been very lucky, that's the truth. Always to be champions you need to be a bit lucky. "We have to improve and learn what we do but we are in the beginning of the season. Nothing happened, no-one dies. "We know we have to win every single game to win this Premier League, but let's see (if) the rest of the teams are so (good) to win every single game. We have to keep focusing."


    City could certainly bemoan their luck with injury and illness, with a host of players unavailable to manager Pep Guardiola. With Gabriel Jesus becoming the latest casualty last week, the City manager began the game without a recognised centre-forward. That initially did not seem a problem as Riyad Mahrez struck early against his former club, but City failed to make the most of their early domination. Vardy turned the game around in dramatic fashion, grabbing a hat-trick with two penalties either side of a neat flicked finish. James Maddison scored a stunning fourth and Youri Tielemans added a third spot-kick late on after a Nathan Ake consolation. The only positive for City came off the field, with Benfica announcing later in the day they had accepted an offer of an initial GBP 62million from the English club for Portugal defender Ruben Dias. A deal for the 23-year-old is expected to be completed in the coming days, ending City's long quest to strengthen their back line. Leicester are also hoping to add to their numbers to build on their superb start to the campaign.


    Manager Brendan Rodgers said: "We want to improve the squad, of course, there is a long season ahead and the timeline of games is very tight. We need to have more bodies in and the club will work very hard on doing that." It is the first time Leicester have won their first three matches of a top-flight campaign. Confidence seems to have returned after a frustrating end to last season when they lost what had once seemed a tight grip on a Champions League place. Rodgers said: "I think there's probably a little more made of that than there was within the squad. I reinforced to the players over the summer, whatever the narrative, they had a fantastic season. "Of course we wanted the Champions League but we didn't make it, let's move on from it. "Whatever we did last year or people thought we didn't do, didn't really matter. This is a new season, a new motivation and the excitement for me was there are continual improvements we can make."

  • Burke points to track as factor in Dandalla’s Newmarket defeat

    28 Sep 2020, 10:55 CEST

    Karl Burke believes the undulations of Newmarket contributed to Dandalla's disappointing effort in the Cheveley Park Stakes. The daughter of Dandy Man was a brilliant winner of the Albany Stakes in June – and while she followed up with a gritty display in the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes on the July Course, she was not nearly as impressive as at Royal Ascot. Dandalla was nonetheless well fancied to extend her unbeaten record to four on her return to Headquarters on Saturday – but after travelling strongly for much of the race, she was ultimately well beaten in fifth place. Burke said: "She's fine. She trotted up sound and ate up, and there's nothing untoward. "We think she ran a very similar race to what she did at the July meeting. She changed her legs three times as soon as she started running downhill from the bushes, and just didn't really lengthen. "I'm not saying for one minute we would have got near the leaders, but it's probably not her track." The Spigot Lodge handler plans to give his filly a break before bringing her back next spring – and remains confident there is plenty to look forward to. He added: "We won't run her again this year. We'll prepare her for a spring campaign and probably have a go at one of the seven-furlong Guineas trials and take the season from there. "We'll probably aim for the race at Newbury (Fred Darling Stakes) if we were going to go down that route, but her homework will tell us where we are. "We think we've still got a very good filly for next year."

  • Marcelo Bielsa backs Rodrigo to be a key contributor for Leeds

    The Spain international linked up play and injected urgency into attacks on Sunday.

    28 Sep 2020, 10:42 CEST

    Marcelo Bielsa believes Rodrigo will begin to show his quality after a taking a "good step forward" with his performance against Sheffield United. The club-record signing from Valencia was dropped down to the bench for Sunday's Yorkshire derby at Bramall Lane. It was a move that caused some surprise but the 29-year-old is still building up his match sharpness, while Patrick Bamford has excelled so far this season. Rodrigo was introduced at half time and his arrival coincided with Leeds showing much more urgency in attack, with the Spain international linking up play and providing a good foil for Bamford. Bamford stole the headlines with his 88th-minute header sealing a 1-0 win, becoming the first player in Leeds' history to score in his first three top-flight appearances for the club, but Bielsa recognised the contribution of Rodrigo and now expects him to improve. "He showed more of the player he is," said the Leeds boss. "He allowed attacks to finish in the opposition half and he played 45 minutes in which we played better, that makes it easier to play well. "He also helped making us play better. It was a good step forward for him. He is a player who has the capacity to unbalance which he has not shown yet. "Today he helped to facilitate our attacks and as time goes on he will help to score goals and to be on the end of attacks."


    Leeds have made a solid start to life back in the Premier League, winning two of their opening three matches, with their only defeat coming in that hugely entertaining game against champions Liverpool which finished 4-3 at Anfield. However, Bielsa was not getting carried away, saying: "I think that to refer to the adaptation in the Premier League, more games have to go past as we have only played three games." By contrast, Sheffield United find themselves bottom of the table at this early stage of the season after losing all three of their matches so far without scoring a goal. Blades boss Chris Wilder spoke of the importance of being effective in both boxes and this week hopes the club will step up their search for a striker. Liverpool's Rhian Brewster is understood to be Wilder's top target, although he also now wants to sign a defender following the news that Jack O'Connell requires a knee operation and looks likely to miss the rest of the season.


    Asked about Brewster, Wilder replied: "I have been focusing on the team but time is running out and we all understand that. "The first goal is huge in the Premier League. Obviously, not scoring is disappointing, we need to score. We need to score and we are not and it makes getting a result on a knife-edge. "In all three games the opposition have not really created much but what happens in both boxes is key. Games are won and lost in the box." On his side's start to the campaign, Wilder said: "We've all gone through difficult periods. We are not getting in the cars and going home, they care about their results and performances."

  • Enable one of 22 to remain in Arc reckoning

    28 Sep 2020, 10:40 CEST

    Enable is one of 22 left in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp, in which she will bid for a historic third win. John Gosden's mare came so close to becoming the first horse to win Europe's greatest race three times when caught late on by Waldgeist 12 months ago. This season, she was beaten on her return in the Eclipse by Ghaiyyath, but has subsequently won a third King George at Ascot before an easy victory in the September Stakes at Kempton. Gosden also has a strong second string in three-time Ascot Gold Cup winner Stradivarius, due to be ridden by Oliver Peslier, while the yard's 2019 St Leger winner Logician – who only recently returned to action – has also been left in. Enable is unlikely to be favourite this year, because she has to give weight to Aidan O'Brien's Love, who has enjoyed the perfect season – winning over a mile in the 1000 Guineas, before also romping to victory in the Oaks at Epsom and adding the Yorkshire Oaks last time out. She will, however, be facing by far her toughest task to date – especially because the ground in France is expected to be soft at the very least. O'Brien could also run Mogul, who finally lived up to his reputation in the Grand Prix de Paris last time out, Japan and Sovereign. The Ballydoyle trainer suggested at the weekend that his hugely impressive Derby winner Serpentine could also be supplemented on Wednesday. Joseph O'Brien could be well represented – with Buckhurst, Crossfirehurricane, Thames River, Degraves and New York Girl left in. Andre Fabre, having dashed Enable's hopes last year with Waldgeist to win the race for a record eighth time, is due to run Persian King – who will be trying the trip for the first time. Another of the big home hopes is Jean-Claude Rouget's filly Raabihah, although she was no match for Dermot Weld's Tarnawa in the Prix Vermeille. Telecaster, Deirdre, Sottsass and Way To Paris have also been left in.

  • Cesarewitch aim for Not So Sleepy

    28 Sep 2020, 09:16 CEST

    Hughie Morrison is eyeing a second tilt at the Together For Racing International Cesarewitch with Not So Sleepy following his successful return at Pontefract last week. The eight-year-old was having his first outing since being pulled up in the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in March, but Morrison feels that effort can be excused as it came at the end of a long season. Prior to that he had shown himself to be very versatile, winning a big handicap hurdle at Ascot by nine lengths, but lost all chance in the Betfair Hurdle following a false start. Making his first appearance on the level since finishing fourth in last year's Cesarewitch, he beat a good yardstick in Dark Jedi over a mile and a half in West Yorkshire. "All being well, it will be the Cesarewitch next, as long as the ground isn't too quick," said Morrison. "He has actually won over a mile and a quarter on the Flat – albeit three years ago! "Given the way we've campaigned him recently, you'd have to say we think he's a hurdler, but we'll take in a Cesarewitch any day – plenty of dual-purpose horses have won it. "Winning seems to have done his mind good. I'm not sure he really stays two-mile-two, but if he relaxes, you don't know what you'd get with this horse – you don't know what's going to turn up on the day. "We intended to give him a rest last autumn but didn't, he then had a couple of serious bites at the cherry before Christmas and come Cheltenham, I think it was just at the end of a long season and he'd had enough. "He's tricky, but we know how to deal with him now. With a hurdles mark of 142 there might be another handicap in him, but we might be brave and go for big races with small fields."

  • Shine For You may head to Newbury

    Hannon eyes Listed target.

    28 Sep 2020, 08:05 CEST

    Richard Hannon has earmarked the Racing TV Stakes at Newbury as a possible target for Shine For You. The Marlborough trainer believes next month's seven-furlong Listed prize, better known as the Radley Stakes, could be an ideal next start for the Siyouni filly. Shine For You built on her debut second behind stablemate Al Fahdaa at Kempton by going one better at Leicester last Monday. Hannon said: "She made up a lot of ground on her debut at Kempton, and I was very pleased with her run the other day. The second is obviously a decent horse. "We might look at running her back against her own sex now in the Radley Stakes and try to get some black type with her. "I think she will like the soft ground, because (jockey) Pat Dobbs said the ground was a bit firm for her at Leicester."

  • Football rumours from the media

    28 Sep 2020, 06:15 CEST

    What the papers say


    Manchester United have made a surprise move towards luring midfielder N'Golo Kante from Chelsea, the Daily Mirror reports. United have contacted Kante's advisers about a move, but the deal will hinge on the France star accepting a pay cut from his GBP 300,000-a-week salary. Chelsea have spent GBP 200m this transfer window and are reportedly open to selling. Kante is also attracting interest from his former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte at Inter Milan. Another midfielder who could be making his way out of Chelsea is Jorginho. The Daily Mail reports the 28-year-old has become a player of interest to Paris St-Germain, who are seeking to secure the Brazilian-Italian on loan. Jorginho was taken off in Chelsea's first two games and dropped for Saturday's draw at West Brom. Competition for midfield places at Chelsea is hot following the arrival of Kai Havertz this season. Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira could be on their way from Manchester United to Lazio, according to The Sun.


    The Rome club are set to table a bid for 32-year-old Mata and 24-year-old Pereira, having missed out in their move for Manchester City's David Silva last month. United are believed to have entered talks over Brazilian Pereira, while Mata – who has fallen down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's pecking order – is thought to be also in the mix. Tottenham are set to swoop for Bournemouth striker Josh King, The Daily Telegraph reports. Jose Mourinho is eager to sign another forward to help support Harry Kane, and Norwegian King is top of their list. Newly relegated Bournemouth have said they will not stand in the way of players wanting Premier League moves. King drew interest from Aston Villa earlier in the transfer window in a mooted bid worth GBP 16m. Leicester are set to table a move for Torino centre-back Gleison Bremer, according to Football Insider. The high-flying Foxes are keen to bolster their defence and the 23-year-old has come into their sights after talks over deals for St Etienne's Wesley Fofana and Burnley's James Tarkowski bore no fruit. Bremer is also a target for Everton.


    Social media round-up


    Players to watch


    Jadon Sancho: Manchester United are persisting with attempts to lure the 20-year-old from Borussia Dortmund, with an off of GBP 65m rising to GBP 90m still on the table in the face of the Bundelsliga club's demand for GBP 108m, the Daily Mail reports.


    Oleksandr Zinchenko: Manchester City's 23-year-old left-back/left-winger has been offered to Barcelona, according to Mundo Deportivo.


    Serge Aurier: The 27-year-old right-back could be on his way from Tottenham to AC Milan, the Daily Mail reports.

  • On this Day in 2004: Wayne Rooney scores hat-trick on Manchester United debut

    The 18-year-old had become the world’s most expensive teenager after starring for England at Euro 2004.

    28 Sep 2020, 05:00 CEST

    Wayne Rooney's future had dominated the sports pages following his exploits at Euro 2004. Rooney handed in a transfer request at Everton in August, with Manchester United and Newcastle leading the chase for the 18-year-old's signature. United paid GBP 27million to make Rooney the world's most expensive teenager and there was a keen sense of anticipation about his arrival. But the Old Trafford faithful had to wait for his debut because of an injury suffered in England's Euro 2004 quarter-final defeat to Portugal. It eventually came on September 28, 2004 in a Champions League group win against Turkish club Fenerbahce – and the Stretford End immediately found a new hero in 6-2 win. Ryan Giggs headed United in front before Rooney grabbed centre stage, taking Ruud van Nistelrooy's 17th-minute pass to fire home left-footed into the roof of the net.


    Rooney rifled in a second from 20 yards with his right foot 11 minutes later after he had dummied a defender and let the ball run across his body. He then produced a brilliant 54th-minute free-kick to become the youngest player – at 18 years and 335 days – to score a Champions League hat-trick. "It was a special moment," Rooney said. "To score a hat-trick on your Champions League debut was a great feeling." Van Nistelrooy and David Bellion scored late goals to wrap up the win, but it was Rooney's night and one that set the tone for the rest of his career at Old Trafford. Rooney went on to win a dozen major honours, including five Premier League titles and a Champions League in 2008, during a 13-year career at United. He also became the top scorer in United's history, with 253 goals in 559 appearances, before returning to Everton in 2017.